Where To Plant A Tree

The saying goes, “right tree, right place, right purpose.” Healthy trees are planted in locations where they have:

  • space for their roots and canopy
  • deep, infrequent watering
  • protection from lawnmowers, soccer balls, and vandalism!

Prepare a sketch or mental map of the site, including locations of buildings, pavement, other trees and landscaping, overhead power lines and underground utilities. Dig in the soil to get a sense of whether you have sand or clay soils.  Confirm that you have irrigation for watering the tree, or a plan for manually watering it twice weekly the first year, weekly for the next two years, and monthly as the tree grows.

Measure the area where tree will be planted, both the length and width. If the widest area is less than 25 feet, plant a “small” tree; if the area is 25 to 50 feet, plant a medium-size tree. If there is a large open area of 50 feet, there will be room for a fully-grown large tree. 

More Information

  • Trees planted on the south and west side of houses will provide shade from hotter afternoon sun. Trees should not be planted under utility lines. Read the SDGE Tree Planting Guide for more tips.
  • Trees Are Good, a division of The International Society of Arboriculture has created a free printable guide to Tree Selection & Placement. Additionally, another guide for Avoiding Tree & Utility Conflicts.
  • Consult a certified arborist or other tree professional to review your site and recommend tree species and care. Find an ISA credential holder through this online directory.  
  • Get advice about selecting a site and a tree, from CityPlants organizations that provides free trees for Los Angeles residents.